Archive for November 21st, 2007

OSS, once more

>>My guess is that a poorly encapsulated, communal gloop of organisms lost out to closely guarded species for the same reason that the Linux community didn’t come up the iPhone: Encapsulation serves a purpose.

>First of all, this presumes that the Linux (or Open Source) community WANTED to “come up” with the iPhone. I would argue that the community is decidedly NOT interested in that. Therefore, failing to create the iPhone is not proof of the community’s failure to innovate, replied Jim.

Oh, shut. up.

If the community had decided to not come up with an iPhone-like device, then this itself is a proof that OSS is not the panacea that RMS wants us to believe. To come up with something like the iPhone software (I am not even talking about the hardware), you need more than one person. You probably need anything between 25 and 100 people. And you need them closely working. Not via IRC, not via mailing lists. But face to face, daily, for a couple of years.

It’s because of that exact same reason why there is not a single serious video editor on Linux that works as well as Vegas or Final Cut Express or even iMovie. Because it’s not a small hack that you put together in the afternoons with your buddies over IRC. It’s a very complex problem and it requires a lot of experience with graphics, video, audio and a need to work perfectly together. I was talking with JBQ the other night about video editors and he agreed that it’s much more complex to write a *good* video editor than to write a *modern* web browser.

I’ve said it a thousand times, I will say it one more: the BeOS was great at its time because the engineers working on it could walk at the cubes and offices of the other engineers and discuss, ask, argue in real time and take architecture and engineering decisions in minutes. This created a cohesive, small, fast and beautiful OS as the iPhone feels today to most. The OSS community does not have this luxury because of its very nature of its contributors being scattered in the globe and work at their own leisure. Complex applications that do well in the OSS world (e.g. Apache, PostgreSQL) is mostly because the core individual contributors work full time on them, or because companies are behind them. Not Joe Programmer from his mommy’s basement. Joe can certainly offer a patch to a complex OSS application, but anything more than that would be overkill. Joe can certainly still write “Yet Another Image Viewer” though.

I won’t be able to reply to most comments btw, holidays are coming.

HTC and Motorola’s mini-usb jacks

F_ck you both, Motorola and HTC. Both use the mini-usb port for headphones port on their latest phone models. So a few months ago I bought two Motorola converters (mini-usb to 3.5mm audio jack). So when I tried these cables on my new HTC Kaiser, they wouldn’t work. Apparently HTC uses a different internal wiring. Why?!? Why make the freaking lives of the consumers so difficult? I am not ok at all to use the mini-USB port for audio (which is also shared with data and charging, so you can’t do multiple things at once), but when there are such incompatibilities between different manufacturers even when using the same kind of port, I just want to throw their phones out of the window.

I think I will be using the iPhone from now on as my main phone instead of my HTC PocketPC. Except Apple, a small glimpse of hope from Nokia’s S60 team and the non-smartphone line from Sony Ericsson, no hardware manufacturer out there has a clue how to create a good cellphone experience. The PocketPC OS is not bad, but HTC pisses me off all too often.

More random stuff

* Mike Gravel has been my favorite of the presidential candidates, but he was left out from both the MSNBC and the CNN debates. This is a very sad thing, because I find it manipulative. Most Americans don’t even know who Gravel is because of that.

* I was watching a documentary the other night on ancient Athens. It’s a bit disconcerting how democracies fail. Same thing with Rome. Apparently, they don’t seem to last more than 150-200 years, and then it falls to totalitarianism. Call me a negative egg, but I don’t think that our world will enjoy representative democracy for much longer.

* Comcast added a bunch of HD channels on their listing (including History and National Geographic). Unfortunately, no SciFi Channel though, so no “Razor” in HD this week…

* Going back to the Village of Squah this weekend. I hope the weather will be good so I shoot some nature video. Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate it.